Renault Megane GT – Review

A French Baguette; just a large stick of bread but oh so good. Brie cheese; just another kind of cheese but oh so tasty. Bordeaux; just another type of wine but oh so fine. The Renault Megane GT; yet another warm hatch but oh so great. But what does the Megane GT say about the future of RenaultSport models?

DSC_0014-min

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Renault Megane GT
Engine: 1.6 petrol, 205hp and 280NM
Transmission: 7-Speed automatic, front-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Megane range start at €19,490. Price as tested – €32,040.

DSC_0023-min

Styling

There are a certain type of car that really appeal to me, they are known as sleepers. A sleeper is a car that is quick/fast but does not stand out from the crowd or look much different from a tamer version in its line up. For example; the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is not a sleeper, it has a giant wing and extravagant styling. You know its quick because it already looks like its going 100km/h while parked.

DSC_0026-min

The Renault Megane GT, on the other hand, is a complete sleeper. It has the same elegant styling as the regular Megane but under the bonnet has the added “umph”. When I reviewed the Megane, I praised the French brand’s uniqueness. The Megane GT is no different, it features a similar bold and distinctive face as featured on the Clio and Kadjar, for example. What sets the GT apart from the more tame Megane are sportier bumpers, the honeycomb grill and the subtle badges dotted around the bodywork. For example, the GT badge below the Renault logo on the grill, the Renault Sport logo on the boot and the front wings and the 4control badge on the B pillar.

DSC_0046-min

Interior

Inside, the Megane’s rather good interior is pretty much left untouched from the regular Megane. Featured is the 8.7 inch touch screen that houses R-Link, more on that later. As well laid out as the cabin is, its not very strategic. The door lock and unlock buttons are underneath the screen on the left of the driver, not on the door. Although the cruise control “increase” and “decrease” buttons are on the steering wheel itself, the option to turn on cruise or speed limiter are on centre console. The radio controls are on a whole stalk of their own, underneath the wiper stalk on the left hand side of the steering wheel. Its all just a bit..well, French.

DSC_0065-min

This has its charms though. The seats, oh the seats! Again, I loved the seats that were fitted in the regular Megane. They are a very good attempt at being a full bucket seat but without loosing the comfortability for everyday use. While the test car was fitted with cloth, alcantara can be added at an extra cost of €1,500. Worth every cent, in my opinion.

DSC_0067-min

Both rear head and legroom is accommodating but close rivals offer better space.

DSC_0057-min

On The Road

Continuing with a sleeper’s characteristics, the Megane doesn’t let a loud roar or burble when you turn on the engine. As much as you’d like it too, however.

DSC_0041-min

Immediately, the Megane begins to handle like a true sports hatch. I mentioned 4Control earlier. This is 4 wheel steering. At speeds up to 80km/h in Sport mode(60km/h in other modes), the front and rear wheels turn in the opposite direction of each other. This makes the car nimble around the city and easy to park. While at higher speeds, the wheels turn in the same direction. This means you can throw the GT into a corner and keep the power on going through because the wheels are adding extra grip. You are for sure to come out the other side with a huge grin on your face.

DSC_0049-min

The GT’s suspension and 7-speed EDC automatic gearbox have both been developed by RenaultSport. Much like the Opel Corsa OPC, the Megane GT is easy and comfortable around the city but when you get to a suitable back road and put the chassis and ‘box to the test, it delivers. Although, the Megane weighs in at 1,463kg so it isn’t the slimmest of pickings. It is just short of 30kg heavier than the Focus ST but the ST has an extra 45hp. The Golf GTI comes to 1,289kg and is also up on power by as much as 25hp.

DSC_0035-min

However, with the massive, chunky leather wrapped steering wheel and large metal gearbox paddles to guide you through all seven gears of the EDC ‘box, the GT feels very much like a drivers car.

Practicality/Boot Space

Nothing is lost over the regular Megane, 384l of boot space is still available and there is sufficient storage throughout the cabin.

DSC_0072-min

Equipment

The GT is tech-spec heavy. It features Renault’s latest version of R-Link, R-Link 2. R-Link is Renault’s infotainment system. Again, referring back to my time with the regular Megane, the R-Link system didn’t impress me. Why? Well, because it wouldn’t connect to my phone. But thankfully this time it did. It did so with ease and the system is easy to use. Its interface is much like a smartphone or tablet, simple.

This GT came optioned with with a BOSE sound system(€600) which is good. It consists of seven speakers and one subwoofer. The sound quality is good from the system. Users can change the speaker’s atmosphere too. So you can have the music suit a Nightclub setting, a Lounge setting or Live music setting.

DSC_0069-min

Running Costs

The GT is a thirsty little bête (beast, for you non-French speakers out there)I averaged 9.5l/100km, quite a long way off Renault’s claimed combined figure of 6.0l/100km. Admittedly, I did have a heavy foot on the accelerator when the opportunity arose. But who wouldn’t when you have the R.S button at their discretion.

The tax bill comes to €280 for the year down to the emissions of 134g/km of CO2.

Also available in the GT is a 165hp diesel although Renault Ireland does not offer it on our shores yet so has not released economy figures for this engine. Though in theory, it should be more fuel efficient.

DSC_0045-min

Pricing

Pricing for the Megane range starts at €19,490. Prices for the GT start at €30,690 but this one, as it sits, will set you back €32,040.

Competition

The Megane GT kind of sits in the middle lane a bit. Many of its competitors are either higher or lower in terms of power but I did my best to find the most suitable.

Ford Focus ST – A fast Ford has always been the Ford to have. The Focus ST packs more punch than the GT with 250hp coming from its 2.0 petrol engine. Although the design is beginning to age a bit now so the GT is a fresh face to the warm hatch segment.

Skoda Octavia RS – A particular favourite car of mine on sale in Ireland at the moment and along with the Golf GTI, it seems to be the go-to-car in the warm hatch segment. The RS has both petrol and diesel variants, much like the rest of the competitors, but the pick of the bunch is the 230hp 2.0 petrol model. It has also received a facelift but the Megane is still prettier.

Peugeot 308 GT – The Pug is the most direct rival to the Megane GT. The two Frenchies have been battling it out for many years as far back as the the Peugeot 205 GTi and Renault 5 GT days. The new 308 GT is also powered by a 1.6 Turbo and too has 205hp. Although, the Pug weighs in at 1,200kg so is more than 250kg lighter than the Megane.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta – The Giulietta is arguably prettier than the GT with its more subtle and low-key elegant Italian styling. Although I am basing my driving experience off of a 2.0 diesel model, the Giulietta has a purer driving feel than that of the Megane. The 170hp 1.4TBi petrol is the engine to go for.

Conclusion

The Megane mightn’t be as pure as its RS ancestors in terms of being a simple, point-and-shoot warm hatch, and you would be right. It is filled with innovative consumer and driver technology. But one downshift from a blip of the large metal gearshifter paddles and plant your foot to the floor, suddenly the future of RenaultSport does not seem all that bad.

DSC_0018-min